What the papers say

Manchester City will be hoping to stave off competitors Liverpool, Barcelona and Paris St Germain for 21-year-old Bayern Munich forward Jamal Musiala according to the Independent. The 21-year-old from Germany has scored 10 goals in 23 matches in the Bundesliga this season.

The Mirror says Arsenal are now rethinking their plans for Brentford striker Ivan Toney due to the form of German forward Kai Havertz. The 24-year-old has scored five goals in his last seven matches, with the club now considering looking for a younger forward.

Chelsea could let 11 players leave the club this summer, the Sun says, with 24-year-old midfielder Conor Gallagher expected to be one of those players.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Viktor Gyokeres: The 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon forward is a top transfer target for Arsenal, but they will have to pay £85million to match the club’s release clause.

Piero Hincapie: Tottenham could look to sign the 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen defender as manager Ange Postecoglou has made a defender one of his priorities in the summer, Teamtalk says.

Mikel Arteta savoured a “big, big performance” after Arsenal reclaimed top spot in the Premier League by ending Brighton’s impressive home form with a thumping 3-0 victory.

The title-chasing Gunners arrived at the Amex Stadium having dropped to third place in the table following Manchester City’s 4-2 success at Crystal Palace in Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off.

Bukayo Saka set Arteta’s men on course to return to the summit by converting a 33rd-minute penalty before second-half goals from Kai Havertz and substitute Leandro Trossard completed a comprehensive win.

The result – Albion’s first top-flight home loss in more than seven months – puts Arsenal a point ahead of both Liverpool, who play their game in hand at rivals Manchester United on Sunday, and City.

“I’m really happy, really proud of the boys,” said Gunners boss Arteta.

“They put in a big, big performance to beat this great Brighton side.

“They haven’t lost here since August and that tells you the difficulty of the task but we were really good today.”

Fit-again Saka was recalled after sitting out the 2-0 midweek win over Luton with a muscular problem.

The England forward scored from the spot when Seagulls full-back Tariq Lamptey was penalised for bringing down Gabriel Jesus, despite brushing the top of the ball.

Havertz rewarded Arsenal’s dominance by tapping home Jorginho’s centre 28 minutes from time before substitute Trossard ran half the length of the pitch to rub salt into the wounds of his former club late on.

“The understanding between the attacking players today was superb,” said Arteta.

“They had real purpose and connection and we created many chances.”

Arsenal led the division for much of last season before falling short in the final weeks.

The Gunners, who begin their two-legged Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, have won 10 of 11 top-flight fixtures in 2024, with seven games to go.

“We are in a really good moment,” said Arteta.

“We have the squad healthy, with a really good energy, with a lot of confidence individually and collectively because they are performing really well and we are winning a lot of matches.

“We just have to carry on doing what we’re doing.”

Brighton dropped to 10th position, below Chelsea on goal difference, as their quest for a second successive season of European football suffered a setback.

Injury-hit Albion faded from a positive start and rarely threatened Gunners goalkeeper David Raya.

Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi had no complaints about the award of Arsenal’s penalty and urged his players to quickly move on.

“I thought it was clear but I don’t want to speak about the decisions of the referee,” he said of the spot-kick.

“We lost not for the referee’s responsibility.

“We played a good game until the second goal we conceded but we didn’t shoot enough to score. We weren’t strong enough to score.

“Arsenal are one of the best teams in the Premier League. We knew that before the game.

“We fought in a good way.

“The penalty was clear and we move on trying to work better, to improve our young players, to recover our eight injured players, and we try to compete to reach another season in the European positions.”

Kai Havertz may have scored the winning goal in a Champions League final but his late header to seal victory over Brentford and send Arsenal top of the Premier League was also a “dream” moment for the forward.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off 24 hours later, any victory for Arsenal would have taken them to the summit for the first time in 2024.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after returning goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining and secure a 2-1 victory.

After a slow start following his summer move from Chelsea, where he netted the only goal of the 2021 Champions League final against Manchester City, Havertz now has four in four league games and was serenaded by the home fans at full-time.

“As a kid, I think you dream that you’re going to have moments like this in your career and Saturday I had something like this,” he said.

“The supporters made it very special to me and I’m very thankful to have this moment. Thank you to all of them.

“You always hope for that (connection with fans). I know maybe it wasn’t from the beginning but I always try to work hard and just not drop my confidence.

“I just give my best every game and I did it so I’m happy now that I’ve had some of those moments now.

“I’m very delighted, it was a big game for us. To play in these games and win it at the end is always very nice and it was a great feeling.”

Havertz’s late goal was controversial as there was a chance he could have been sent off earlier in the game.

After being cautioned for catching Kristoffer Ajer with an elbow, the Germany forward seemingly dived in an attempt to win a second-half penalty.

“Right now, I don’t think momentum is with us,” Vitaly Janelt told Brentford’s official website.

“Everyone expected that Arsenal would win by three, four, five today because of their last results, but everyone knows how difficult it is to play against us either at home or away.

“They didn’t create many chances and, for me, it was a clear yellow and then red to Havertz, it was a clear dive for me. Then he scores the winner, but that’s football.”

Mikel Arteta hailed match-winner Kai Havertz as an “exceptional player” after his late header saw Arsenal beat Brentford to move top of the Premier League.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off on Sunday, any victory for Arsenal would have taken them to the summit for the first time in 2024 – they will stay there if that game is drawn.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after returning goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining to secure a 2-1 victory.

Havertz was serenaded by the home fans at full-time as he made it four goals in his last four league games, continuing to bely the criticism of his early-season form following his move from Chelsea.

“I’m so happy,” Arteta said when asked if Havertz had now justified his big-money move.

“If somebody told me after the first two or three months that the whole stadium would be singing his song with that passion, with that feeling, with that chemistry, I would have found it hard to believe.

“That’s what happens to good people. He’s an exceptional player. When he starts to score goals like this and everything starts to flow people feel more connected with him.

“They see his work rate, they see his intelligence, they see how he plays for the team and how he’s contributing. It’s impossible not to love him.”

Rice rose to head home a career-best sixth goal of the season but deep in first-half stoppage time, Ramsdale collected a routine back-pass from Gabriel Maghalaes but dallied in possession and his attempted clearance was blocked into the net by Wissa.

Ramsdale has not played since the return game at Brentford in November after losing the battle for the Arsenal number one spot to David Raya – who is on loan from the Bees and therefore ineligible against his parent club – and this could yet be his final outing for the Gunners.

He recovered to make two smart saves in the second-half and Arteta was pleased his error did not ultimately cost the Gunners.

“I’m really happy especially because he did exactly what he is, which is a person with huge personality and courage, very determined,” he said.

“Errors are part of football. It’s how you react to it, especially for the keepers which is probably the most difficult position. He did so in an amazing way. I’m not surprised because the whole team and the whole stadium was behind him.

“He has earned that respect and admiration. We really wanted to win for him.”

Havertz’s header meant Ramsdale’s blushes were spared – but Brentford boss Thomas Frank felt the Germany forward was lucky to still be on the pitch to score the winner.

Having been booked for an elbow on Kristoffer Ajer, he managed to avoid a second caution despite seemingly diving in an attempt to win a penalty.

“Havertz is a clear, clear dive,” said Frank.

“I wish they would just admit it. I don’t know if he has because that happens all the time, every week someone is doing it. I know it happens.

“That should of course been a second yellow and a red card. And then he wouldn’t be able to score the winner and hopefully maybe we would have gained a little bit more momentum, maybe to win the game.”

Kai Havertz headed home a late winner against Brentford to send Arsenal top of the Premier League and spare the blushes of goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off on Sunday, any victory for Arsenal would have been enough to take them to the summit for the first time in 2024.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining to secure a 2-1 victory.

Mikel Arteta has seen his team sweep aside all comers in recent weeks but this was another face to Arsenal, an attritional display that will see them remain as league leaders if Liverpool and City share the spoils at Anfield.

Ramsdale has not played since the return game at Brentford in November after losing the battle for the Arsenal number one spot to David Raya – who is on loan from the Bees and therefore ineligible against his parent club – and this could yet be his final outing for the Gunners.

Ivan Toney, linked with Arsenal throughout January, cleared an inswinging Rice corner off the line early on but unlike recent games away from home Arsenal did not have everything their own way in the opening stages.

They would, however, still break the deadlock as Ben White crossed for Rice to head home like an accomplished Premier League striker as he enjoys the best goalscoring season of his career with six goals.

From that point on, Arsenal looked in control – that was until deep into first-half stoppage time when Ramsdale collected a routine back-pass from Gabriel Magalhaes but dallied in possession and, as he attempted to clear, was closed down by Wissa.

The block could have gone anywhere but looped into the back of Ramsdale’s net to take the teams in level at the break.

Brentford smelled blood and after the interval Toney attempted an audacious effort with Ramsdale off his line – but this time he made a good stop to turn the goal-bound strike behind.

Arsenal were still the more dangerous side and Gabriel almost headed home a Bukayo Saka corner only for Vitaly Janelt to block into the grateful hands of goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

The hosts were getting more and more frustrated with referee Robert Jones as they felt a number of penalty claims went against them, although Havertz was lucky to escape a second booking after seemingly diving inside the box just after the hour.

Brentford were still threatening and Ramsdale was now providing the rearguard protection, brilliantly tipping over a Nathan Collins header as the second half drew on.

The game was opening up into an end-to-end contest as Rice rattled the crossbar with a bending effort from outside the box, with nerves creeping in around the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal, though, manfully stuck to the task at hand and ultimately found a way through as White once again provided the cross, Havertz this time diverting a header past Flekken for his fourth goal in four league games.

Jorginho believes relentless Arsenal are approaching the Premier League title race with more maturity than last season.

The Gunners were top of the table for a total of 248 days last term before ultimately slipping behind Manchester City in the run-in.

Pep Guardiola’s men are again in the running this time, with the holders sandwiched between leaders Liverpool and Arsenal as the season enters the final straight.

Just two points separate the table-topping Reds and third-placed Gunners, who ran amok at sorry Sheffield United in a 6-0 Monday mauling.

“The performance of the squad (was great) and the mentality to start strong and carry on the momentum,” Jorginho said.

“It was really, really good to see a team playing forward and want to keep going.”

Asked what is different about the team this year compared to the one that just fell short last season, the Italy international added: “I think the maturity.

“We are way more mature how we compete and how we manage the games. I think that’s it.”

That mentality led Mikel Arteta’s side to race out of the blocks, racking up a five-goal lead quicker than any away side in Premier League history – Declan Rice making it 5-0 in the 39th minute.

Ben White’s second-half thunderbolt completed the rout, scoring the club’s 10,000th goal on a night they became the first English league side to win three consecutive away games by five or more goals.

“We are pleased that we are doing all this good stuff, but we need to carry on,” Jorginho said.

“Because if we just think ‘oh yeah, nice, it’s done’… no, we just need to put your head down and keep pushing, being humble and keep going.

“We need to not be just happy for what we are doing. Of course, we are happy but we want to keep being happy.

“So, to be like that we just need to keep pushing and working hard.”

Arsenal’s seventh Premier League win on the bounce pushes shambolic Sheffield United further towards an immediate return to the Championship.

The Blades also made history on Monday, becoming the first English side to lose three consecutive home league games by at least a five-goal margin.

It was the kind of performance that raises questions over Chris Wilder’s future but the United boss says it only strengthened his drive to rebuild his boyhood club.

“It cements it,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned in a way I’ll wake up tomorrow and it’ll strengthen my resolve to get this right because it’s a big job, we understand that.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta described his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United as “a great night” as they climbed to within two points of leaders Liverpool.

The Gunners dominated from start to finish against a Blades team who looked well beaten after Martin Odegaard, Jayden Bogle’s own goal and Gabriel Martinelli had put them 3-0 behind inside 13 minutes.

Kai Havertz and Declan Rice put the irrepressible Londoners 5-0 ahead at half-time and Ben White crashed home their sixth before the hour mark.

Arteta, whose side’s seventh straight league victory saw them become the first English league side to win three consecutive away games by five or more goals, said: “It was a great night.

“The way we started made a difference. We were really aggressive and positive and we showed real quality in the final third to take the game into a great position for us.

“Then we maintained the rhythm, maintained the hunger and I love that about the team.”

Arsenal struck their fifth goal in the 39th minute, the earliest an away side has had a five-goal margin in Premier League history.

But Arteta warned his side they cannot afford to drop any points between now and the end of the season if they are to pip Liverpool and Manchester City to the title.

“The fact that we’re scoring many goals and not conceding is a great sign, but it’s about winning every game now,” the Spaniard said.

“That’s the demands these two teams have set over the past few years and that’s the task ahead of us.”

Arteta confirmed Bukayo Saka was withdrawn at half-time due to illness, while Martinelli was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in the 64th minute after cutting his foot.

“We need to wait and see how it is,” added Arteta on Martinelli’s setback, which was the only downside to the evening.

Declan Rice admits Arsenal need to find their Champions League “savvy” as Mikel Arteta’s young side continue to learn on the job.

The Gunners lost the first leg of their last 16 tie away to Porto on Wednesday night as Galeno’s brilliant last-gasp strike earned the hosts a 1-0 victory.

It extends Arsenal’s wretched record in Champions League knockout games – they still have not won outside of the group stages since 2010, having exited at the last-16 stage for seven consecutive years under Arsene Wenger.

Arteta secured a return to the top table of European football for the first time since 2017 but Arsenal’s hopes of progressing further suffered a blow at the Estadio do Dragao.

From their starting XI in Porto, only Kai Havertz had any previous experience of playing a Champions League knockout game and Rice conceded that lack of nous cost Arsenal late on.

“I think the last minute is probably a bit of inexperience,” he replied when asked if Arteta’s young team were on a steep learning curve.

“Just probably having a bit more savviness, in terms of it’s the 93rd minute, you look up at the clock, it’s 0-0, we gave a ball away on the edge of our box twice and then he bends one in the top bins.

“So we have got to have a bit of savviness to see out the game, because if you can’t win, definitely don’t lose – especially in a knockout game. But look, we are still positive. It is half-time in a two-leg tie and we will be ready for the next leg.

“You look at our team, we are such a young group. Some of us have not played in the Champions League before, so it is all about learning on the job.

“But we have to play better than we did tonight. They made it really tough, but in the second leg we will be ready to go and give it everything.

“I think it is good to have nerves – you get that experience and you need that to play in the biggest games. Whether there is nerves or no nerves, I think these are the type of games we need to learn from on the way and it is going to make us better overall.”

While the disappointment from the defeat will linger until the return leg at the Emirates Stadium on March 12, Rice knows Arsenal cannot suffer a Champions League hangover.

They are back in Premier League action as they host Newcastle on Saturday.

“Look, we have lost games this year and drawn games, and I have seen the changing room after and it’s been really bad when we have lost and drawn games,” added England international Rice.

“But here, we have just lost, but in there is a real positivity around the group at the minute, around the club.

“We have had such a good start to 2024, I think we take the positives from this game tonight, but also see where we can improve. It is going to be a big game in two weeks’ time and we will be ready for it.”

Mikel Arteta was delighted by his players’ unquenchable drive for more goals and wins after Arsenal racked up their fifth Premier League win in a row at relegation-threatened Burnley.

The north Londoners are in the middle of a tough title tussle and kept the pressure on both Liverpool and Manchester City by running amok at Turf Moor.

Martin Odegaard opening the scoring inside four minutes at embattled Burnley, where Bukayo Saka’s brace was complemented by Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz efforts in a 5-0 win.

Saturday’s five-star performance followed on from last weekend’s 6-0 shellacking of West Ham, leaving boss Arteta delighted by his players’ hunger and drive for more.

“Really happy with the performance, with the result and the individual and collective contribution of each player as well,” the Arsenal boss said. “That was very, very good.

“And the fact that the team looked like it wanted more. It wasn’t satisfied.

“They wanted to score more, they didn’t want to concede a goal. I’m really pleased to hit that consistency.”

Asked if the domination has pleased him more than the goals recently, Arteta said: “Yeah. We want to dominate games and play in the opponent’s half as much as possible.

“I think the threat, the purpose, the activity and the connections of the players are flowing and they really want it.

“We have momentum now and we have to maintain it.

“Now we leave the Premier League, we go to Porto which will be a really tough environment, so just prepare to play well again and be ourselves.”

Arsenal head to Portugal for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday buoyed by yet another comprehensive victory on the road.

Arteta praised confident skipper Odegaard after Saturday’s triumph, so too Saka after the homegrown star scored in four straight top-flight games for the first time in his career.

Put to the Arsenal boss that the forward has the maturity of a senior player despite only being 22, he said: “Yes, we don’t really see it (in football).

“Especially forward players and wingers with that level of consistency and numbers.

“At his age it is something really strange to find but it is not a coincidence when you look at him every single day.

“The way he trains, the way he applies himself, the qualities that he has. And he can do more.”

The heavy loss means embattled Burnley still only have managed five points at Turf Moor this season, leaving them staring down the barrel of relegation.

Burnley assistant Craig Bellamy was in the dugout against Arsenal as Vincent Kompany served a touchline ban and the Clarets boss did not like what he saw from the stands.

“Just not good enough,” Kompany said. “Arsenal were better than us in every department today. It’s a tough one to take on the chin.

“You look back at probably the last 10 to 15 games and we were always able to draw on positives from the game.

“Today’s one you have to take on the chin and probably say less and make sure that you get the energy back in the team for the next game because that’s all we’ve got to focus on now.

“You do get days like this sometimes and when you do and where we are in the league, you get punished and the gap shows then.”

Burnley return to action at Crystal Palace next weekend, when midfielder Aaron Ramsey will surely be absent having left on a stretcher with a nasty-looking knee injury.

“It didn’t look good,” Kompany added. “I can only hope for it not to be as bad as it looked and for him to hopefully have a speedy recovery.”

Bukayo Saka struck twice as Arsenal romped to a 5-0 victory at lifeless Burnley and extended their winning run to a fifth successive Premier League match.

Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing Gunners kept the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City by making light work of what was always expected to be a straightforward Saturday assignment.

Martin Odegaard lashed Arsenal into an early lead at Turf Moor and they never looked back, with Saka’s brace complemented by Leandro Trossard and Kai Havertz efforts as they battered Burnley 5-0.

This is the first time that the north Londoners have ever begun a calendar year with five league wins on the bounce and that outcome appeared to be on the cards within four minutes of kick-off.

Odegaard hammered Arsenal ahead and Saka scored from the spot just before the break, adding to his double in last week’s stunning 6-0 win at West Ham.

The forward completed another brace before Trossard and Havertz added gloss as suspended boss Vincent Kompany watched his hapless team crumble from the stands.

There were some boos at the final whistle and an air of resignation around Turf Moor before kick-off – little wonder given their five-point haul on home soil is the worst in the Premier League.

That feeling of Burnley pessimism only grew inside four minutes as Arsenal’s first attack brought the opening goal.

Gabriel Martinelli’s cross from the left deflected off Lorenz Assignon and reached Odegaard on the edge of the box.

The Arsenal skipper took a smart touch and continued to laser a left-footed strike beyond James Trafford into the bottom corner.

That goal increased the incline on what was already an uphill challenge for the lacklustre Clarets, who Craig Bellamy was leading from the touchline.

David Raya denied a Wilson Odobert threat on a rare Burnley attack, with quick, sharp build-up play making life hard for the stumbling hosts at the other end.

Arsenal continued to knock on the door and their second came from the spot in the 41st minute.

Havertz played a quick ball on to Trossard in the box, with the forward going down under a challenge from Assignon.

The defender’s appeals fell on deaf ears and Trafford guessed correctly, but Saka’s spot-kick was just out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

This is the first time in the England star’s career that he has scored in four consecutive Premier League games, and he added his second of the day in the 47th minute.

Slipped through by patient Odegaard, Saka smartly made space under pressure to hammer past Trafford at his near post.

A bad afternoon for Burnley got worse when midfielder Aaron Ramsey sustained a nasty-looking injury after challenging with Odegaard.

There was a lengthy break in play as he received treatment before being taken off on a stretcher.

Trossard was guilty of two poor misses when play resumed, but he would sweep home from close range in the 66th minute to spark a mass exit.

Substitute Eddie Nketiah headed wide before Havertz added a fifth in the 78th minute as Burnley continued to flounder.

Jakub Kiwior’s throw-in caught out the hosts’ defence and put Havertz behind, with the summer signing cutting through Hannes Delcroix’s legs before scoring.

Substitute Jacob Bruun Larsen and Josh Brownhill tried to score a consolation between Odegaard seeing a free-kick saved as 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time came and went without another goal.

Aston Villa moved to within two points of the Premier League summit as they continued their outstanding home form with victory over Arsenal.

The Gunners had led the table heading into the weekend but slipped to a 1-0 loss courtesy of captain John McGinn’s seventh-minute strike – with Villa extending their winning home league run to a club-record 15 games in the process.

Arsenal twice had the ball in the net in the second half but Bukayo Saka was offside before Kai Havertz was denied a late equaliser having been penalised for handball.

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery would have particularly enjoyed getting one over his successor – although Mikel Arteta watched on glumly from the directors’ box as he served a one-match touchline ban.

Villa beat champions Manchester City here on Wednesday night and this success shows that they are legitimate challengers for the title this season.

Arsenal were disjointed for large periods of the game with Saka, in particular, struggling to make an impact on proceedings in a manner which he has become accustomed.

This season, Arsenal have often struggled to break down a low-block while largely enjoying themselves against sides who look to press.

Therefore, this was testament once again to the ruthlessness and guile with which Villa employ Emery’s tactics and continue to befuddle some of the best teams in the land.

Saka had a good chance to open the scoring early on but, after drifting in unmarked at the back post he could not make meaningful contact on Gabriel Martinelli’s swinging cross.

Villa would hit the front soon after, playing out from the back and not letting Arsenal get near the ball as Leon Bailey burst into plenty of space to break down the right before playing in McGinn, who had time to take a touch and turn before finishing emphatically past David Raya.

Having been so front-footed and driven in the win over City, there could have naturally been some drop-off less than three days later but the home side were running the show in the opening quarter of the game.

Martin Odegaard then shot into the side-netting as Arsenal at last began to string together some passes in the final third.

Martinelli was next up, beating the onrushing Emiliano Martinez to a ball over the top and looping a shot at goal that was cleared away by Diego Carlos.

With the visitors building up a head of steam, Odegaard had a fine chance to equalise but saw a shot from 12 yards out once again kept out by Martinez, who then saved from Gabriel Jesus before the break.

Arsenal saw calls for an early second-half penalty turned down after Douglas Luiz caught Jesus but a VAR check quickly came down on the side of the hosts.

Miscommunication in the Villa box almost gifted Arsenal their equaliser as Martinez looked to claim a corner but could only palm the ball into the back of Ollie Watkins, who was leaping to clear, and it hit the post before being collected.

Odegaard, who had arguably wasted Arsenal’s best chance in the first half, then skewed a shot horribly wide as Villa’s goal continued to live a charmed life.

Despite clearly tiring, Villa were still able to pose a threat themselves as a simple ball through the middle eventually saw half-time substitute Moussa Diaby picked out and he played in Lucas Digne, who shot low at Raya.

Saka then had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to bring an abrupt end to celebrations before Raya was again called upon to save from Watkins.

Havertz thought he had levelled in the last minute but referee Jarred Gillett awarded Villa a free-kick for handball against the German, with a lengthy VAR check ultimately siding with the on-pitch official.

Aston Villa moved to within two points of the Premier League summit as they continued their outstanding home form with victory over Arsenal.

The Gunners had led the table heading into the weekend but slipped to a 1-0 loss courtesy of captain John McGinn’s seventh-minute strike – with Villa extending their winning home league run to 15 games in the process.

Arsenal twice had the ball in the net in the second half but Bukayo Saka was offside before Kai Havertz was denied a late equaliser having been penalised for handball.

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery would have particularly enjoyed getting one over his successor – although Mikel Arteta watched on glumly from the directors’ box as he served a one-match touchline ban.

Villa beat champions Manchester City here on Wednesday night and this success shows that they are legitimate challengers for the title this season.

Arsenal were disjointed for large periods of the game with Saka, in particular, struggling to make an impact on proceedings in a manner which he has become accustomed.

This season, Arsenal have often struggled to break down a low-block while largely enjoying themselves against sides who look to press.

Therefore, this was testament once again to the ruthlessness and guile with which Villa employ Emery’s tactics and continue to befuddle some of the best teams in the land.

Saka had a good chance to open the scoring early on but, after drifting in unmarked at the back post he could not make meaningful contact on Gabriel Martinelli’s swinging cross.

Villa would hit the front soon after, playing out from the back and not letting Arsenal get near the ball as Leon Bailey burst into plenty of space to break down the right before playing in McGinn, who had time to take a touch and turn before finishing emphatically past David Raya.

Having been so front-footed and driven in the win over City, there could have naturally been some drop-off less than three days later but the home side were running the show in the opening quarter of the game.

Martin Odegaard then shot into the side-netting as Arsenal at last began to string together some passes in the final third.

Martinelli was next up, beating the onrushing Emiliano Martinez to a ball over the top and looping a shot at goal that was cleared away by Diego Carlos.

With the visitors building up a head of steam, Odegaard had a fine chance to equalise but saw a shot from 12 yards out once again kept out by Martinez, who then saved from Gabriel Jesus before the break.

Arsenal saw calls for an early second-half penalty turned down after Douglas Luiz caught Jesus but a VAR check quickly came down on the side of the hosts.

Miscommunication in the Villa box almost gifted Arsenal their equaliser as Martinez looked to claim a corner but could only palm the ball into the back of Ollie Watkins, who was leaping to clear, and it hit the post before being collected.

Odegaard, who had arguably wasted Arsenal’s best chance in the first half, then skewed a shot horribly wide as Villa’s goal continued to live a charmed life.

Despite clearly tiring, Villa were still able to pose a threat themselves as a simple ball through the middle eventually saw half-time substitute Moussa Diaby picked out and he played in Lucas Digne, who shot low at Raya.

Saka then had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to bring an abrupt end to celebrations before Raya was again called upon to save from Watkins.

Havertz thought he had levelled in the last minute but referee Jarred Gillett awarded Villa a free-kick for handball against the German, with a lengthy VAR check ultimately siding with the on-pitch official.

Kai Havertz is not getting carried away with his first Arsenal goal from open play or the Gunners’ rise to the top of the Premier League.

Germany midfielder Havertz climbed off the bench to score a last-minute winner at Brentford on Saturday evening.

It was only his second goal since joining Arsenal from Chelsea for £65million in the summer, and his first since netting a penalty in the 4-0 win at Bournemouth.

“I think most important is always the team and to have the three points is very good for me as well, personally,” Havertz told the club website.

“I worked quite hard to get these moments again and I got it so I’m very, very happy.

“We came to win and it’s a very good feeling to go home with three points.”

The 1-0 victory in west London lifted Arsenal to the top of the table for the first time this season.

“It’s always good to be up top but you have to look game by game and there are still so many games to play, such a long season,” Havertz added.

“We just have to focus on ourselves, win the games and then see at the end what’s going to happen.”

Brentford were without key midfielder Mathias Jensen due to a thigh problem, but boss Thomas Frank hopes the Dane will be fit to face Luton next weekend.

“The players are ready to step in and fill the role, and they do that because they know the structure and the principles,” said Frank.

“We have a fantastic culture and togetherness. With the injuries we have, against a full-strength Arsenal side who are top of the Premier League, it was just incredible.”

Mikel Arteta defended Aaron Ramsdale after the Arsenal goalkeeper’s error-strewn display in the 1-0 win at Brentford.

Not even Kai Havertz’s late winner, which sent the Gunners to the top of the Premier League for the first time this season, could mask a horror show from Ramsdale.

The 25-year-old was back in the spotlight on his first league appearance since September 3 with David Raya, now seemingly the club’s undisputed number one, still on loan from Brentford and ineligible to face his parent club.

But the England international made a horribly nervous start which almost gifted the Bees an early goal.

Having exchanged passes with Gabriel from a goal kick, Ramsdale suddenly developed a bout of the yips, hesitating with his clearance and allowing Yoane Wissa to pinch the ball away.

Luckily for Ramsdale, Declan Rice had already spotted the danger and got back to clear Bryan Mbeumo’s shot off the line, before Wissa put the rebound wide.

But Ramsdale hid his face under his shirt following another embarrassing error before half-time, somehow letting the ball slip out of his hand.

Instead of throwing it up-field he ended up looking like a fast bowler delivering a bouncer which went straight to Bees midfielder Frank Onyeka. The danger was quickly cleared, but Ramsdale’s confidence was ebbing further down the drain.

However, Arteta insisted: “This is football, I’m so happy with the team, we kept a clean sheet and we move on.

“He has big courage, big personality and that’s why we love him. I enjoy to see the players encouraging each other.”

Nevertheless, the Gunners won it when Bukayo Saka swung in a cross from the right and substitute Havertz ghosted in at the far post to plant his header past Mark Flekken and send them back to the top of the pile.

It was only the German’s second goal since his summer switch from Chelsea.

“That’s the beauty of it, when things come easy you don’t value it,” Arteta added.

“We love him for a reason and the way he behaves in difficult moments. We could not be happier that a big player like him won the game.

“I’m so happy, when you have opportunity to go top and you come to Brentford, an uncomfortable place to come, the team showed so much willingness to compete.”

For the Bees a record of 14 London derbies without defeat came to an end.

“I think we did so many things right, it was a very even game in many ways,” said boss Thomas Frank.

“There were two chances for each team. Unfortunately they took one and we didn’t. The game should have been a draw. I’m pleased with the performance and effort of the players.”

Kai Havertz climbed off the bench to fire Arsenal to the top of the Premier League with a late winner to sink Brentford 1-0.

Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at lunchtime left the door open for the Gunners to hit the summit for the first time since May 2.

They did not look like doing so for 89 minutes against a stubborn Brentford side, and at times were grateful the hosts did not punish some rudimentary errors from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

But 10 minutes after coming off the bench, Havertz struck at the far post to convert Bukayo Saka’s cross and lift Arsenal back to the top for the first time since last season’s title bid fizzled out.

Ramsdale was back in the spotlight on his first Premier League appearance since September 3 with David Raya, now seemingly the club’s undisputed number one, still on loan from Brentford and ineligible to face his parent club.

The England keeper made a nervous start with a shanked clearance into touch, and, with his every move mocked by the Bees fans, then proceeded to almost gift Brentford an early goal.

Having exchanged passes with Gabriel from a goal kick, Ramsdale suddenly developed a bout of the yips, hesitating with his clearance and allowing Yoane Wissa to pinch the ball away.

Luckily for Ramsdale, Declan Rice had already spotted the danger and got back to clear Bryan Mbeumo’s shot off the line, before Wissa put the rebound wide.

But Ramsdale hid his face under his shirt following another embarrassing error before half-time, somehow letting the ball slip out of his hand.

Instead of throwing it up-field he ended up looking like a fast bowler delivering a bouncer which went straight to Bees midfielder Frank Onyeka. The danger was quickly cleared, however.

The Gunners were faring little better at the other end with striker Gabriel Jesus, making his first Premier League appearance in a month, heading into the side-netting and blazing a shot over.

They did get the ball in the net just before half-time thanks to more inauspicious goalkeeping, this time from Mark Flekken, who palmed a Jesus header into the air, allowing Leandro Trossard to bundle it home, but VAR ruled the Belgian was offside.

Mikel Arteta, who launched his recent VAR rant after his side were beaten by a goal scored from a very similar position by Newcastle, looked on impassively from the touchline.

Brentford had chances after the break, with Mbeumo firing off target, Yehor Yarmoliuk shooting straight at Ramsdale and substitute Neal Maupay prodding wide from close range.

But the Gunners won it when Saka swung in a cross from the right and Havertz ghosted in at the far post to plant his header past Flekken and send them back to the top of the pile.

Page 1 of 6
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.